A Letter from Carrie: “Theology with skin on”

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I was icing cakes in preparation for a house full of 5 year olds while the news of the shootings in Orlando was coming out a month ago today. Admittedly, it is a challenge to process a massacre of such proportions while up to one’s elbows in pink frosting.

It wasn’t until Sunday evening gathering for dinner and worship with our church family – some of whom live a few blocks from the tragedy – that I started to enter into the grief of our city to let it sink in.

But how can it, really? There’s been so much bad news lately. A friend from our time in DC widowed by a drunk driver, left alone with his 4-year-old son. A young woman gunned down for her professed faith in Jesus following her performance a block from where our church used to meet. Cops outside our front door telling the scared neighbor that laws prevent removal of her unstable roommate without injunction or eviction paperwork – even after a woman just around the corner was murdered in her own driveway last month. Deaths and injustice in Dallas, Baton Rouge, and elsewhere.

It hit me that evening during communion. Body. Blood. The eucharist has never been more visceral to me. We’d spend all day secluded in our idyllic backyard celebrating life with our little lambs, then ventured out to come to terms with 50 senseless slayings in our city. Now, as we sang “Worthy is the Lamb who was slain,” I found myself on my knees in tears.

But this is the miracle, isn’t it? The God of the universe put on flesh and walked among us, fragile as the water balloons at Fia’s party. Lived immaculately, died gruesomely, rose victoriously, and delegated the “body” work to us, his Church, until his return.

Google is a modern miracle, right? Whatever information anyone could need, at our fingertips instantly…

“Siri, what is ‘substitutionary atonement?’”


But as Jayson and I have been taking some required seminary courses this summer, I can’t help but think this is why we do this. When our friend down the street told me out of the blue that she had decided to go back to church and agreed to process it over coffee, she was acknowledging what we all know: people don’t just need facts, we need theology with skin on. There is some qualitative difference between mere words on a page and truth spoken by a face, lived out in real time with a counted cost. Since Xander’s birth, it’s become evident to me that my role in this season will revolve primarily around our household rather than campus ministry, to free up Jayson to continue his work with the Jesus Film. I take another step back from the “front lines” of ministry with mixed feelings.

No matter what – wherever we are – true views of God and his word matter much, not only in our daily lives, but in everything we do and bump into, from design decisions with JesusFilm.org to being good neighbors, to disciplining a stubborn 2-year-old or balancing the household budget.

We appreciate your prayers that our family would – at work, play and all the spaces in between – be good theology with skin on, speaking and fleshing out the bad news about humanity and the good news about Jesus faithfully and fruitfully.

Thanks again for all you do to partner with us in this – it lifts us up more than you know. 

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